When Boned was published in 2008, there was much controversy about who the author of this supposedly fictitious but wonderfully insightful look at the world of journalism in Australian television was. The book received much publicity on this fact alone, and I remember reading a review of the book in a newspaper, and then an extract of the book’s prologue, which they’d printed alongside the review. Ever since I read that extract, I wanted to read the book. However, a few weeks later the book was the furthest thing from my mind.
Fast forward to around one month ago. My mum and I were out op shopping, and, as I always do on these occasions, I was scouring the book sections for books. As we walked from one op shop to the next, I suddenly recalled the book Boned, for the first time in years. And, funnily enough, as I walked down the steps to the bookshelves of the next op shop, there the book was, sitting on the shelf, just waiting for me to buy it. Let’s call it fate.
It’s clear why the author of this book, who reportedly still works on Australian news programmes, wanted to remain anonymous. The author is completely frank about the industry and the way the networks compete against each other for ratings, preferring to air “news” which will rate well over hard-hitting journalism. The protagonist, Kate, also has the misfortune of being a female in a chauvinistic newsroom, where the only way to get ahead is to work twice as hard as men, or give the men what they’re after from the very day a new young woman joins the team. Kate chooses the former.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and relished an Australian novel written about how network journalism works in this country, as opposed to overseas. Australia is a small fish compared to the rest of the world, and faces industry challenges which other countries do not. I also loved Kate’s character. She’s a woman who’s not afraid to take it to the men and stand up for herself and what she wants. She’s also willing to work hard to forward her career, as opposed to the other option. And while for the majority of the novel her career comes before her life, I thought the ending fit this novel perfectly.
I love the insight this book offers, and I love that the book and I found each other, even if it was five years after I first wanted to read it. Clearly, the book wanted me to read it, too.
Published by Penguin Books, 2008